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Volleyball Training Journal issue 002
June 26, 2007

Lower Reps at Higher Intensities

FreeBall Setting Drill


LOWER REPS AT HIGHER INTENSITIES: Basically, your weight training should focus on one of the following training outcomes…

Strength, Power, Hypertrophy, or Muscular Endurance.

If you want to get stronger, train to increase strength.

If you want to get bigger, train to increase hypertrophy (muscle size).

If you want to get faster, train to increase power.

If you want to be able to perform longer, train to increase muscular endurance.

How you manipulate weight training variables - sets, reps, volume, etc...

determines the training outcome - Strength, Power, Hypertrophy, or Muscular Endurance.


WEIGHT TRAINING VARIABLES: Basics of manipulating training variables - sets, reps, and volume for achieving your training goals. Lifting at a "higher intensity" means lift with a heavier load.

Remember, "intensity" always predicts "duration". For example, if you exercise at a high intensity, duration of exercise must be less.

A rep (repetition) is the number of times an exercise is performed.

So, “Front squat 4x5” means performing 4 sets of 5 reps of the front squat, with rest between sets.

Let’s use a basic definition of volume, sets times reps of a given exercise.

So if you perform 4 sets of 5 reps of the front squat, your volume for the front squat is 20.

Training for Strength. When training to increase strength, exercises should be performed at a high intensity with a lower number of repetitions.

Training for Power. When training to increase power, exercises should be done at a little lower intensity with a low number of reps. Intensity should be lower because we want the movements to be faster and more explosive. The rest periods are also longer while really emphasizing correct exercise technique.

Training for Hypertrophy (size). When training to increase muscle size, the intensity of the exercise is less than that when training for strength and power and you are performing more repetitions. To increase size, volume typically has to be much greater than when training for just strength and power.

Training for Muscular Endurance. When training for muscular endurance, exercise intensity is much less, while performing many more repetitions per exercise. Also, the lengths of rest periods are much shorter.

The typical repetition ranges are…

To increase strength, 1 to 6 reps for each set.

To increase power, 3 to 5 reps for each set.

To increase hypertrophy, 8 to 12 reps for each set.

To increase muscular endurance, more than 12 reps for each set.


LOWER REPS TO INCREASE STRENGTH AND POWER: Many coaches make the mistake of performing too many reps at too low intensity.

Performing multi-joint weight training exercises (squat, deadlift, etc.) in the range of 3-5 sets and 3-5 reps is a general guideline for improving strength and power.


SETS AND REPS: When training for strength and power, the total number of sets should generally be between 18 and 28 with the workouts total volume between 90 and 180.

Here’s a sample workout that has the sets and reps fall into the ideal range for training strength and power for volleyball. STRENGTH AND POWER SAMPLE WORKOUT:

Hang clean 4x5

Front squat 4x5

Inverted rows 3x8

Push ups w/bands 3x6

Planks 2, 30 second holds

Side planks 2, 20 second holds

Single leg deadlift 3x8

Reverse ab curls 3x12


Visit my site for more information on weight training and important strength training concepts - strength, power, hypertrophy, and muscular endurance.

Also, follow the link to learn more about weight training with low reps at higher intensities.




This drill allows for both the passers passing and the setter setting to get quick repetitions. Passers should focus on passing free balls perfectly. The setter should work on setting consistency.

1. This drill needs a setter at the net, two players as targets, and two passers in the backcourt. The targets each stand where the setter wants to work on setting. For example, one target can stand where an outside hitter would be hitting, the other target can stand where a weak side hitter would be.

2. At least two balls can be in play at all times.

3. The drill starts with a tossed ball from a target to a passer. The ball is passed to the setter who sets to one of the targets.

4. The drill continues at a quick pace.


1. Change the target positions and work on different sets.

2. Toss the ball to different areas of the court.


Passers focus on good technique and accurate passing. Because the passes are easy, the setter quickly develops consistent setting habits through the many repetitions setting.

For more setter drills, visit my setting drills webpage.


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